Recent MLB Player News

Angels' Shohei Ohtani (elbow) to hit off tee Friday

Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher/designated hitter Shohei Ohtani (elbow) will hit off a tee on Friday.

What It Means:

It will be Ohtani's first tee work since undergoing Tommy John Surgery last October. He isn't expected to play in any Cactus League games and the Angels don't plan on Ohtani being available as a DH until May. The 24-year-old slashed .285/.361/.564 with 22 taters, 61 RBI, 59 runs scored, and 10 steals in 367 plate appearances as a rookie.

numberFire's models expect Ohtani to bat .274 with 25 home runs, 74 RBI, 67 runs scored, and 10 steals across 465 plate appearances this season.

Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (arm) to play catch in a 'few days'

Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw (arm) said Friday that he "should be playing catch in the next few days and kind of go from there."

What It Means:

"I'm not going to be super-specific right now," Kershaw said in regards to the injury. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts claims it's unrelated to the biceps tendinitis that caused Kershaw to miss time last season. The ace left-hander turns 31 next month.

numberFire's models expect Kershaw to record a 2.87 ERA with 186 strikeouts in 2019.

Braves' Mike Soroka experiencing renewed shoulder soreness

Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Mike Soroka will be shut down for the next 4-5 days due to renewed soreness in his right shoulder.

What It Means:

Soroka initially tweaked his shoulder while lifting weights last month, but had pitched pain-free until this week. The 21-year-old right-hander missed the entire second half of last season with shoulder problems.

numberFire's models expect Soroka to twirl a 3.63 ERA and 1.41 WHIP with 50 punchouts across 64 1/3 innings this season.

Marwin Gonzalez signs with Twins for 2 years, $21 million

The Minnesota Twins and infielder/left fielder Marwin Gonzalez have agreed to a 2-year, $21 million contract, reports Jon Heyman of MLB Network.

What It Means:

Gonzalez will likely be utilized all over the field, which could limit plate appearances for Willians Astudillo. MarGo batted .247/.324/.409 with 16 home runs for the Houston Astros last season while making starts at five different positions.

numberFire's models expect Gonzalez to hit .263 with 18 dingers, 69 RBI, 65 runs scored, and 3 steals in 2019.

Source: Jon Heyman

Mets' Jed Lowrie dealing with knee injury

New York Mets infielder Jed Lowrie underwent an MRI on his left knee.

What It Means:

The MRI revealed Lowrie isn't dealing with significant knee damage, per general manager Brodie Van Wagenen, but that doesn't necessarily guarantee his status for Opening Day. The versatile 34-year-old signed a two-year, $20 million contract with the Mets in January.

numberFire's models expect Lowrie to record a .259 batting average with 18 home runs, 73 RBI, 73 runs scored, and 2 steals this season.

Michael Lorenzen to pitch, play center field for Reds this spring

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Michael Lorenzen is expected to both pitch and play center field during Cactus League games this spring.

What It Means:

Lorenzen was a two-way stud in college at Cal State Fullerton and he's proven to be one of the better hitting pitchers in the majors, slashing .290/.333/.710 with 4 home runs, 10 RBI, and 5 runs scored across 34 plate appearances last season. The 27-year-old right-hander also posted a 3.11 ERA across 81 innings.

numberFire's models expect Lorenzen to record a 3.86 ERA and 1.34 WHIP with 60 strikeouts over 77 innings in 2019.

Reds' Sonny Gray dealing with elbow stiffness

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Sonny Gray was scratched from Saturday's scheduled Cactus League start due to right elbow stiffness.

What It Means:

Gray says the injury isn't serious and that he will resume throwing in a day or two, so it sounds like the Reds are erring on the side of caution with their newly acquired right-hander. Tanner Roark will toe the rubber on Saturday instead.

numberFire's models expect Gray to record a 4.22 ERA and 1.38 WHIP with 114 strikeouts across 126 innings this season.

Ryan Brasier (toe) returns to Red Sox camp

Boston Red Sox reliever Ryan Brasier (right little toe infection) has returned to Red Sox camp and hopes to resume workouts soon.

What It Means:

Brasier was sent back to Boston earlier this week, but he should have no problem getting ready in time for Opening Day. The 31-year-old right-hander appears to be the current frontrunner for ninth-inning duties.

numberFire's models expect Brasier to convert 18 saves and record a 2.95 ERA with 58 strikeouts over 58 innings in 2019.

Trea Turner attempting 75-80 steals ideal for Nationals

Washington Nationals manager Davey Martinez said Thursday that if shortstop Trea Turner "attempts 75-80 [stolen bases], we’ll be in great shape.”

What It Means:

That would be a pretty big leap after Turner led the National League with 42 steals on 53 attempts last season. Over the last decade, only nine major leaguers have attempted 75-plus steals in a season and only four have attempted 80 or more. Still, the comment is a testament to the sort of upside Turner can provide for fantasy owners.

numberFire’s models expect Turner to bat .278 with 42 steals, 98 runs scored, 65 RBI, and 7 home runs this season.

Source: MASN

Carlos Martinez (shoulder) offseason program displeasing Cardinals

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez's (shoulder) offseason training regimen is irking Cardinals president John Mozeliak.

What It Means:

"Obviously, there’s a history with Carlos’ shoulder," said Mozeliak, "and it would be probably in everybody’s best interest if he maintained a constant or perpetual approach to [club-implemented workouts]." The Cardinals placed Martinez on a no-throw program Tuesday morning at camp due to concerns about the strength of his right shoulder, indicating the 27-year-old right-hander may not be ready for the start of the season. He was limited to 118 2/3 innings (18 starts, 15 relief appearances) last season due to multiple upper-arm injuries.

numberFire's models currently expect Martinez to record a 3.70 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with 181 strikeouts and 75 walks across 180 innings this season.

Source: Mark Saxon

Manny Machado reportedly agrees to 10-year, $300 million deal with Padres

The San Diego Padres and infielder Manny Machado have agreed to a 10-year, $300 million contract, reports Mark Feinsand of MLB.com.

What It Means:

The deal will be the largest free-agent contract in the history of American sports once it becomes official, at least until Bryce Harper signs. Machado, 26, slashed .297/.367/.538 with 37 home runs, 107 RBI, 84 runs scored, and 14 steals across 709 plate appearances for the Baltimore Orioles and Los Angeles Dodgers last season.

numberFire's models project Machado for a .295 batting average with 34 dingers, 99 RBI, 90 runs scored, and 13 steals for the Padres in 2019.

Source: MLB.com

Mariners' Mallex Smith (elbow) may miss Japan series

Seattle Mariners center fielder Mallex Smith (right elbow strain) is unlikely to be ready to play the field for games in Japan against the Oakland Athletics on March 20-21.

What It Means:

The Mariners are taking it easy with Smith to start the spring as he continues to recover from his elbow injury, but even if he's not cleared for defensive duties, the 25-year-old could contribute as a designated hitter or pinch-runner in Japan. That said, it wouldn't be surprising if Smith is held out until Seattle's season opener against the Boston Red Sox at home on March 28. He slashed .296/.367/.406 with 40 stolen bases over 141 games (544 plate appearances) last season, adding 65 runs scored, 40 RBI, and 2 homers.

numberFire's models currently expect Smith to bat .271 with 34 steals, 66 runs scored, 4 dingers, and 38 RBI in 2019.

Source: MLB.com

Cardinals' Carlos Martinez (shoulder) not throwing for 2 weeks

St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Carlos Martinez will be on a no-throw program for two weeks in order to strengthen his shoulder.

What It Means:

The positive news is that an MRI taken Monday revealed no structural damage in Martinez's shoulder, but this does create some doubt about the 27-year-old right-hander's availability for the start of the season. Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says Martinez will be re-evaluated on March 5.

numberFire's models currently expect Martinez to record a 3.70 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with 181 strikeouts and 75 walks across 180 innings this season.

Giants' Bruce Bochy to retire after this season

San Francisco Giants manager Bruce Bochy announced Monday that he's retiring after the 2019 season.

What It Means:

Bochy informed his players during a team meeting on Monday morning. He made his managerial debut in 1995 with the San Diego Padres, where he won a National League pennant in 1998. Bochy later joined the Giants in 2007 and went on to win three World Series titles (2010, 2012, 2014). Turning 64 in April, the future Hall of Famer needs 82 more wins to enter the top-10 all-time. Bochy is averaging 80.3 wins per season in his career.

Bochy is 1926-1944 (.498) over 24 seasons.

Angels' Justin Upton dealing with patellar tendinitis

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Justin Upton is dealing with patellar tendinitis in his right knee.

What It Means:

The Angels will take a conservative approach with Upton this spring, but he should be fine for Opening Day. The 31-year-old slashed .257/.344/.463 with 30 home runs and 85 RBI over 613 plate appearances (145 games) last season.

numberFire's models expect Upton to hit .258 with 30 dingers, 86 RBI, 83 runs scored, and 10 steals in 2019.

Craig Kimbrel 'extremely unlikely' to return to Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are "extremely unlikely" to re-sign closer Craig Kimbrel, club chairman Tom Werner said Monday.

What It Means:

If Kimbrel isn't brought back, the Red Sox will likely turn to Ryan Braiser or Matt Barnes at closer. The right-hander spent the past three seasons in Boston. He turns 31 in May.

Kimbrel converted 42 saves with a 2.74 ERA and 96 strikeouts (31 walks) across 62 1/3 innings for the Red Sox in 2018.

Mike Moustakas reportedly re-signs with Brewers, will try second base

The Milwaukee Brewers and third baseman Mike Moustakas have agreed to a 1-year contract renewal, reports Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic.

What It Means:

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the deal will pay Moustakas $10 million once finalized. Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Monday that the club will try Moustakas out at second base this spring. The 30-year-old has never played second base in the majors, but if he's comfortable with the switch, Travis Shaw would likely take over at the hot corner for Milwaukee. Moustakas slashed .251/.315/.459 with 28 home runs, 95 RBI, and 66 runs scored across 635 combined plate appearances for the Brewers and Kansas City Royals last season.

numberFire's models expect Moustakas to hit .257 with 28 dingers, 87 RBI, 69 runs scored, and 3 steals in 2019.

Brewers' Mike Moustakas reportedly agrees to one-year deal on Sunday

The Milwaukee Brewers and third baseman Mike Moustakas have reportedly agreed to a one-year contract on Sunday.

What It Means:

Moustakas will remain with the Brewers after reportedly signing a one-year contract on Sunday. Look for the veteran infielder to remain at third while Travis Shaw starts at second base.

In 54 games with Milwaukee last season, Moustakas produced 8 home runs and 33 RBI.

Mallex Smith's (elbow) Opening Day status for Mariners in air

Seattle Mariners outfielder Mallex Smith (right elbow) will be limited the first 7-10 days of spring training, manager Scott Servais said.

What It Means:

The Mariners expect Smith to be an everyday starter in center field and the injury is to his throwing arm, so the club understandably wants to err on the side of caution with his recovery. "I don’t know right now," Servais replied when asked if Smith would be ready for Opening Day. "I don’t know if you are going to have a good idea until he picks up a ball again. We’re just trying to let it calm down." Smith, 25, was acquired in a trade with the Tampa Bay Rays earlier this offseason and is expected to be an elite source of steals in 2019.

Smith slashed .296/.367/.406 with 40 stolen bases over 141 games (544 plate appearances) last season, adding 65 runs scored, 40 RBI, and 2 taters.

Ronald Acuna may lead off for Braves again this season

Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuna could bat leadoff again this season, manager Brian Snitker said.

What It Means:

"There's a few different ways we could go that are all really good," Snitker said. "We're just going to wait to see where we're at in a couple weeks. All those things will play itself out. You've got to start somewhere with a lineup. Then you kind of adjust and adapt as it goes and as players go, kind of similar to last year." Acuna said he enjoys leading off and would prefer to stay there. The reigning National League Rookie of the Year Award winner posted his best numbers at the top of the order in 2018, with a .328/.409/.634 slash and 1.042 OPS over 301 plate appearances.

The 21-year-old slashed .293/.366/.552 with 26 home runs, 64 RBI, 78 runs scored, and 16 steals across 487 plate appearances during last year's rookie campaign.

Source: MLB.com

Pirates' Jameson Taillon will start on Opening Day

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon will be the Opening Day starter against the Cincinnati Reds.

What It Means:

Taillon will be the Pirates' Opening Day starter for the 2019 season after being picked to pitch against the Cincinnati Reds. The Pirates' rotation for the first week after Taillon will be Trevor Williams, Joe Musgrove, and then Chris Archer.

Look for Taillon to build off a successful 2018 season where he pitched to a 14-10 record with a 3.20 ERA and 179 strikeouts.

Orioles sign shortstop Alcides Escobar to minor league contract on Saturday

The Baltimore Orioles signed shortstop Alcides Escobar to a minor league contract on Saturday.

What It Means:

Escobar will join the Orioles after agreeing to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Look for Escobar to provide depth at second base and shortstop primarily.

In 140 games last season, Escobar produced 112 hits and 8 stolen bases.

Source: Joe Trezza

Yankees' CC Sabathia will retire after 2019 season

New York Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia will retire after the 2019 season.

What It Means:

Sabathia held a press conference on Saturday to announce the 2019 season will be his last. The veteran will head into his 19th year with a career record of 246-153 and 2986 strikeouts in 538 starts.

In ten seasons with the Yankees, Sabathia has pitched to a 129-80 record with 1593 strikeouts.

Source: MLB.com

Yankees' Luis Severino agrees to four-year $40 million dollar extension on Friday

New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino will avoid arbitration after agreeing to a four-year $40 million dollar extension on Friday.

What It Means:

Severino will continue serving as the ace of the Yankees' starting staff after agreeing to a four-year extension on Friday. Look for the 24-year old to build off his strong 2018 season despite struggling after the All-Star break.

In 32 starts last season, Severino went 19-8 with a 3.39 ERA and 220 strikeouts.

Source: MLB.com

Nick Senzel could start for Reds in 2019

Cincinnati Reds manager David Bell said that it is "very possible" that prospect Nick Senzel will be the starting center fielder.

What It Means:

Senzel has never played in the outfield, but the Reds are confident he can make the transition. "Having never seen him on the field, my first impression was, 'This guy can really move. He's an athlete. This is more than possible,'" Bell told reporters. Senzel may have to wait until mid-to-late April to make his MLB debut due to service time rules, but it shouldn't be long before the 23-year-old becomes an everyday player for Cincinnati.

Senzel slashed .310/.378/.509 in 44 games (193 plate appearances) at Triple-A Louisville in 2018 before suffering a season-ending finger injury in June.

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